Ossett United 3-2 Widnes
Pitching In Northern Premier League First Division N/Wes
Match Report by Rob Carroll
Take my hand
We're off to never-never land’
These are tough times. There’s so much uncertainty in our daily lives and for the foreseeable future life is restricted. I keep telling my kids to enjoy the little things that give them pleasure. Walking through the turnstiles at on a damp Tuesday night to the soundtrack of Metallica’s heavy, grinding ‘Enter Sandman’, chosen by fan favourite Ross Hardaker, I exited the night, entered the Ingfield light, certain that recent performances would finally bring a deserved three points for United.
We non-league fans learn to enjoy the small things. You can keep your expensive plastic seat somewhere up in the gods at a Premier League ground, taking for granted everything you are watching, consuming a product but not really part of the beautiful game. Watching Adam Priestley harry the opposing defence to within a minute of their lives, or a Marko Basic set-piece that comes off, or maybe when George Green turns on a sixpence, completely outfoxing his opposite number; these are small things that give me pleasure.
The drive home from Pickering had been a tough one. ‘How the hell did we lose that?! We were by far the better side!” Actually, only my satnav with the posh, husky voice, who can’t pronounce ‘Glossop’ or ‘Doncaster’, can tell you the real words I used. But still you took away positives from that match as the lads played so well. The game had been heading our way before one refereeing decision switched its course. I didn’t get to Ramsbottom, managing to reach a radio to listen to most of Craig’s brilliant commentary. The dejection of being beaten in the ninety-seventeenth minute…
It takes resilience to bounce back from things like that but tonight just had to be that night! Widnes had other ideas though. Ingfield was stunned as within 90 seconds of the start the ball fell for Widnes Joint Manager Kevin Towey in the box, which he duly slotted past Max Dearnley in the Ossett goal. 0-1.
United, kicking downhill towards the Bonfire End, tried to get their gameplan going, but Widnes had the upper hand and continued to look dangerous. James Steele made Ossett’s bounceback all the more unlikely after 25 minutes, rounding Dearnley for a second Widnes goal.
Within two minutes we were offered a lifeline, Harry Gagen pinging an accurate cross from the right, but Nash Connolly still had work to do, beating his opponent to the ball before finishing off with a powering header into the Widnes net. 1-2. Come on Ossett, push on now!
In fact, Widnes ended the half the strongest and Max Dearnley between the Ossett sticks kept us in the game as the first period drew to a close, firstly with a spectacular double save from close range, then diving to the right to tip a goalbound Towey shot around the post.
The second half, by contrast, was dominated by Ossett, both before and after the incident that truly turned this game. By now I had moved round to the main terrace, so the incident in Dearnley’s box was distant. Widnes Co-Boss Towey went down in the area under a challenge and from my vantage point I fully expected the official and fellow Rotherham fan Wayne Cooper to point to the spot. The ref’s much closer view was different, as Towey’s appeals were not only waved away, but his apparent dive was deemed a second bookable offence. Off trudged Towey…at snail pace…leaving Widnes 2-1 to the good but down to ten men.
Still, the game wore on and United just didn’t look like we could quite produce an equaliser. As Jimmy Burke shaped to shoot from outside a crowded box with other options available I moaned, “Why shoot?!” only to hear the agonising thud of aluminium as Burkey’s superb long-range effort bounced back from the crossbar.
With time getting the better of us two of United’s most industrious players on the night were involved in the 82nd minute equaliser. Ossett’s crossing had improved as the night progressed and Nash Connolly’s delivery from the right, flicked on by substitute Sion Ripley, was turned in by new signing Jack Normanton, who, like Connolly, had run his socks off along the front line all evening.
As Widnes restarted you could sense the mood, the United forwards determined to get that ball straight back. Two minutes later and a melee in the Widnes box resulted in the ball…for once this season…sitting up kindly for Jack Stockdill to thump home that goal that took us off to never-never-land.
Exit light. Enter night. Hard luck Widnes. This game could have gone either way, but by ‘eck was this victory sweet. Enjoy the small moments, folks. Come on you Blues!
1. Max Dearnley, 2. Harry Gagen (15. Tom Bamford), 3. Ross Hardaker, 4. Luke Hogg (12. Elliot Harrison), 5. Jimmy Burke, 6. Cameron Clark, 7. Nash Connolly (Goal), 8. Jack Stockdill (c) (Goal), 9. Jack Normanton (Goal), 10. George Green (14. Seon Ripley), 11. Aaron Haswell | 16. Mitch Levi-Lewis, GK, Jake Teale.